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Though Serena Williams may not have won the Grand Slam at the US Open, the tennis player scored big at the Fall 2019 presentation of her S by Serena Williams collection.
Presented at New York Fashion Week with Klarna Style360, the is a celebration of women who break limits, boundaries and tradition, according to the press release. For Williams, that means women like her mother, who she counts as one of her biggest inspirations, along with fellow tennis greats Billie Jean King and sister Venus Williams. “Even Anna Wintour,” the designer told ELLE.com backstage before the show. “She’s broken so many boundaries and she’s so brave and so amazing and wow. These are women that I really look up to.”
Inspired by 1990s street fashion with a modern touch, Williams looked to iconic models when starting the collection. “Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford and actually even look at her daughter Kaia who’s just doing beyond amazing and I’m obsessed. I love her,” said the designer. “We looked at that and then we just kind of were like, ‘Ok, how do we bring a little bit of a moderness to this, yet keep some of those elements? Runway looks like bodycon purple zebra print, wearable black jumpsuits, and neon rompers answered the designer’s question. Hits also included a suede coat that opened the show, plus smart plaid suiting, and leopard print wrap dresses.
Shown on a range of body types (the collection ranges in size from XS to 3X), Williams tells ELLE.com inclusivity was definitely on the brain while she was designing. “We call our larger sizes ‘Great.’ We just want everyone to know that some pieces are exclusively ‘Great’ so ‘Great’ can feel ‘Great’ in their own pieces.”
The designer continued, “It was important for me to create different things for different people and different body types. I like the word inclusivity as opposed to exclusive because I feel like when you’re inclusive, it just makes a difference and it’s where we should be heading more now.”
Coming off of what can only be described as a hectic week, I asked Williams how she deals with stress and feeling overwhelmed. “I keep telling myself this (gestures to my bracelets that read ‘This is Fine’ and ‘Breathe’) which I love. I don’t know. I just try to tell myself not to have a ton of anxiety and just to relax. Easier said than done, I haven’t quite done that yet, but I’m working on that.”